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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 January 2007, 17:27 GMT
High winds cause chaos in region
Lorries were blown over on roads and motorways
Lorries were blown over on major trunk roads across the region
High winds have brought chaos across the Yorkshire and Humber region with roads, rail and power supplies suffering disruption.

Lorries were blown over on major trunk routes and around 50,000 properties across Yorkshire lost power supplies.

The ends of two houses were blown off in Leeds and parts of the city centre and York's tourist spots were closed due to fears of flying debris.

Humberside fire crews were stretched to the limit with dozens of 999 calls.

Problems reported included roofs blown off buildings and trees which had fallen onto houses.

Severe conditions

Fire crews attended two incidents at houses in Rodley and Drighlington after the gable ends of the properties were blown down.

Many flights into and out of Leeds Bradford Airport were cancelled or diverted due to the severe weather conditions.

Electricity supplier CE Electric said it had mobilised all available staff to tackle disruption to power supplies but said it feared the situation could get worse.

House in Drighlington
The ends of two houses in Leeds were blown off by the gales

A spokesman said there were about 500 faults on overhead power lines affecting services to Yorkshire, the North East and in the northern part of Lincolnshire.

Among those affected were about 6,000 properties in Bradford, Halifax and Huddersfield, 5,000 in Wakefield and Leeds, 9,000 in the South Yorkshire area and 3,000 in the East Yorkshire area.

And South Yorkshire Police said their switchboard had been jammed with callers reporting hundreds of incidents, which meant people with "real emergencies" could not get through.

A spokesman said: "We are asking callers to think twice as to whether their call is absolutely necessary."

Road closures

The M1, M18, M62 and A1 were all suffering major congestion after lane closures caused by overturned vehicles.

A driver died when his articulated lorry overturned in high winds on the A629 Skipton bypass in North Yorkshire.

South Yorkshire Police traffic spokesman Mike Trees said it was not a day to be out on the roads.

He said: "We have had to close all these roads because of safety concerns as winds reach dangerous speeds.

"I would advise anyone to avoid travelling on our road network unless absolutely necessary."

Last Thursday, two lorries were blown off the A628 Woodhead Pass trans-Pennine route in South Yorkshire as gale-force gusts ripped across the moors.

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